You finished your book. Congratulations! Now it’s time to edit your novel. This may seem like a daunting task. You might have no idea where to start or how to go about the process. Read on for some tips on how to best edit your novel.
Take a Break Before You Edit Your Novel
Once you’ve finished writing your novel, you might think that the best thing to do is immediately jump into editing. After all, this is your pet project. You might want to get published someday, or you might want to self-publish. Before you can do that, you need to edit, right?
You’re right, of course. Every novel needs a good polish before you send it out to readers. Before you can edit, though, you need to take a break. You need to give the novel some time to breathe. You can’t edit what you just wrote unbiasedly. You’ll be less likely to catch mistakes or find plot holes. So, before you start editing, hit the pause button. Put the novel in a drawer – whether that’s a drawer on your desktop or an actual drawer somewhere.
When you’re ready to go back to editing, you’ll be able to do it with an unbiased eye. You want your novel to feel strange and fresh, even to yourself. This means that you can read it like someone else would. You’ll find out if there are plot holes that don’t make sense, or if there are words you overuse.
Don’t be Afraid to Kill Favorite Scenes
You might have written a scene that you absolutely love. Unfortunately, these scenes don’t always make sense. Sometimes, you have to feel comfortable deleting something that you once loved with all your heart.
It’s a strange feeling to take out something that you slaved over. You might have tried rewriting a scene a hundred times, but it just hasn’t come out right. So, take it out. If something doesn’t fit a character’s personality, take it out. One of the most important things you can do while editing is have an unbiased perspective. You don’t want to force a character to do something simply because it fits the plot.
Use the Proper Punctuation When You Edit Your Novel
It goes without saying that you want to use the right punctuation. I’m going to say it anyway, though. If you’re unsure if something is written properly, take the time to research. Nothing distracts from a good book more than if something is misspelled or uses a semi colon improperly. This will distract readers from the story, which is what you want them to focus on. When it doubt, use an automated grammar and spelling checker. We get used to seeing the squiggly lines under our words, but our readers won’t like it if they found out that you used ‘too’ instead of ‘two’.
Get a Professional’s Opinion
If you’ve written your novel, you’ve let it rest, and you’ve done your best job at editing, but you’re still unsure, it might be time to get an expert’s opinion. You can send your novel in somewhere to be edited. It can be somewhat expensive depending on who you use, so make sure you research appropriately. If you can’t afford a professional, ask a friend or family member. They can read your novel and tell you if everything makes sense. They can also look for misspelled words and bad grammar choices. There’s no shame in getting a second opinion, after all.